This post was brought to you by Scarsdale Medical Group.
Whether you’re pregnant with your first baby or having No. 3, you’re probably always trying to remember what things you can eat, medications you can take, and when it is safe to travel. We spoke with Scarsdale Medical Group’s OBGYN, Dr. Beth Simon, who gave us a quick set of guidelines for the do’s and don’ts of pregnancy. (Dr. Simon gives all of her pregnant patients an 8-page guide she created and refers to as the Cliff Notes for What to Expect When You’re Expecting.)
Cheese & Fish: What’s OK?
Due to the possibility of contracting listeria, which can be harmful to a fetus (as well as the mom-to-be), it is unsafe to consume unpasteurized cheeses when pregnant. All cheeses that are made in the U.S. are pasteurized, making them safe to eat. The risky category would be imported (and potentially unpasteurized) soft cheeses that you might find in an upscale market or restaurant, so just be aware of what you are eating. Hard cheeses are typically fine.
Dr. Simon recommends that her pregnant patients limit themselves to two 6 oz. portions of fish per week. There are four types of fish that are not recommended during pregnancy due to the high mercury content, which has been linked to fetal brain damage. These include shark, tile fish, king mackerel and swordfish. The safest fish to consume during pregnancy are codfish, brook or rainbow trout, yellow or white perch, and haddock. Tuna (canned or fresh) has a moderate level of mercury and should not be consumed frequently (less than 6 oz. per week is fine).
If I Have a Cold, What Can I Take?
Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you have to suffer! “Plenty of medications are safe during pregnancy,” says Dr. Simon. Over-the-counter drugs such as Tylenol (acetaminophen) are effective and safe for aches, pains and fever. Others include Robitussin (guaifenisin), which may be helpful for a cough, and Sudafed (pseudoephedrine) for congestion. If you’re suffering from allergies, Benadryl (diphenhydramine), Claritin (loratidine), and Zyrtec (cetirizine) are all safe antihistamines. “Allegra (fexofenadine), however, is not recommended,” says Dr. Simon. As a precaution, always check with your obstetrician about taking any medications, especially during the first 6 to 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Getting relief from Constipation & Hemorrhoids
“Constipation and hemorrhoids are a very common, though unpleasant, side effect of pregnancy,” says Dr. Simon. “This is due to both your hormonal changes and pre-natal vitamins.” She recommends increasing your fiber intake and drinking 8 oz. bottles of water to get things moving. She also recommends prune juice and taking a stool softener like Colace (docusate) for comfort. Milk of magnesia and Citrucel, taken as directed, are both effective in easing constipation.
Hemorrhoids often occur in a woman’s third trimester “due to the weight of the baby at this late stage in your pregnancy,” says Dr. Simon, who recommends treating with witch hazel, Tucks pads (keep them in the fridge!) or Preparation H.
Is It Safe To Get On a Plane?
According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, it is generally safe to travel domestically up to the 36th week of pregnancy and internationally up to the 35th week. If you do travel, Dr. Simon recommends that you take breaks: “Walk around every hour or so to help prevent blood clots and increase circulation. The humidity on the plane is usually fairly low, so be sure to increase your water intake, as well.” Always check with your doctor before traveling. Dr. Simon recommends getting a note stating that it is safe to travel at your particular stage of pregnancy. “We give all of our patients a letter with their name, dates of travel and permission to travel, so that no issues arise with air travel security,” says Dr. Simon.
Beth Simon, MD, (pictured above) and her partner, Ronald Reiss, MD, FACOG, are Scarsdale Medical Group’s OBGYN physicians along with GYN, Claudia Useda, MD. They accept many insurances and provide full OBGYN services including infertility/conception, obstetrics/pregnancy, breastfeeding consultations, ultrasound, gynecological care, well woman care and surgery.
The provision of high-quality, personalized health care to Westchester County and New York’s Hudson Valley region has been the mission of the Scarsdale Medical Group for more than 50 years. Their working philosophy of compassion, confidence, and commitment has enabled them to become known and respected by patients and peers throughout the tri-state area.
Scarsdale Medical Group, 600 Mamaroneck Ave, Suite 301, Harrison; 914-723-8100.